NRG Poll Finds Transmission Constraints A Barrier for US Wind

Transmission/interconnection constraints have been identified as the greatest barrier to wind energy development, according to a poll conducted by NRG Systems at the recent Windpower 2009 Conference.

Transmission or interconnection issues were cited by 49% of respondents as the single greatest barrier to wind development in the United States. The U.S. economy also clearly had an impact on poll results, NRG says, with 28% of respondents identifying financing/access to capital as the second greatest barrier to wind development.

In a similar poll in 2008, U.S. federal policy was identified as the second greatest barrier, whereas this year, federal policy, public attitudes toward wind energy and supply chain constraints were of much less concern.

When asked which initiative or policy would contribute most to the development of wind energy, 43% of respondents chose an upgraded national transmission system, followed by 31% who chose a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). Feed-in tariffs came in third with 10%, followed closely by cap-and-trade legislation with 9%. Only 7% thought banking and finance recapitalization would contribute most to wind energy development.

“Our purpose in conducting this poll is to get an instant read on what people think about the challenges and opportunities facing the wind industry,” said Jan Blittersdorf, president and CEO of NRG Systems. “Clearly, many external factors affect the industry and this poll captures how those change, or don’t change, from year to year.”

Financial issues rather than transmission/interconnection issues were identified as the greatest barrier to individual company growth, with 45% of respondents identifying access to capital as the greatest barrier. Transmission/interconnection issues came in second with 25%.

Despite the bleak economy, 72% of respondents still expect company sales to grow over the next two years, with North America and China identified as the regions that hold the greatest promise for future wind development.

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